Mountain States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Regional definitions vary from source to source. The states shown in dark red are always included, while the striped states are usually considered part of the same region called the Mountain States.
An enlargeable map of the Rocky Mountains of western North America.

The Mountain States (also known as the Mountain West and the Interior West) form one of the nine geographic divisions of the United States that are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau. It is a subregion of the Western United States. The Mountain States are usually split up into two other regions known as the Northwest and Southwest. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are considered part of the Northwest, while Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah are considered part of the Southwest.

The division consists of eight states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. These eight states have the highest mean elevations of all 50 U.S. states. Together with the Pacific States of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, the Mountain States constitute the broader region of the West, one of the four regions the United States Census Bureau formally recognizes (the Northeast, South, and Midwest being the other three). The word "Mountain" refers to the Rocky Mountains, which run north-south through portions of the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. Arizona and Nevada, as well as other parts of Utah and New Mexico, have other smaller mountain ranges and scattered mountains located in them as well. Sometimes the Trans-Pecos area of West Texas is considered part of the region.

Mountain Time is observed in nearly the entire division, except Nevada (all but the stateline city of West Wendover) and the Idaho Panhandle. Daylight saving time is not observed in Arizona, except for lands within the Navajo Nation (northeast corner of the state) which observe daylight saving time due to the Nation traversing state lines. For this reason, most of Arizona is one hour behind the rest of the Mountain Time Zone from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.[1]

Phoenix is the largest city and metropolitan area of the Mountain States, followed by Denver, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City.

Regional geography[edit]

The Mountain West is one of the largest and most diverse regions in the United States. Most regional boundaries of the Mountain West are often looked at as the area from the High Plains to the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range. The southern and northern portions of the Mountain West are often split into two separate regions. The southern portion (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada) is often called the greater Southwest region, while the northern portion (Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana) is often called either the Northwest states or the Northern Mountain West region.[2]

Terrain[edit]

The bottom of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona

The terrain of the Mountain West is more diverse than any other region in the United States. Its physical geography ranges from some of the highest mountain peaks in the continental United States, to large desert lands, and rolling plains in the eastern portion of the region. The Mountain West states contain all of the major deserts found in North America. The Great Basin Desert is located in almost all of Nevada, western Utah, and southern Idaho. Wyoming also has a vast amount of desert land in the southwestern portion of the state, which is known as the Red Desert. Portions of the Mojave Desert are located in California, but over half of the desert is located in southern Nevada, in the Mountain West. Meanwhile, the Sonoran Desert is located in much of Arizona, and the Chihuahuan Desert is located in most of southwestern and southern New Mexico. Colorado also has scattered desert lands in the southern and northwestern portions of the state including the expansive San Luis Valley.

Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona have other smaller desert lands, part of the Colorado Plateau. The Painted Desert is located in northern and northeastern Arizona, and the San Rafael Desert is located in eastern Utah. New Mexico has other desert lands located in the northern and northwest. Colorado has large desert lands on the Colorado plateau in the northwestern, western, and southern parts of the state. These desert lands in Colorado are located in and around areas such as Royal Gorge, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Pueblo, the San Luis Valley, Cortez, Dove Creek, Delta, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, the Roan Plateau, Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado National Monument, and the Grand Mesa.[3] The San Luis Valley is the largest high valley desert in the world.[citation needed]

In the far eastern portions of the Mountain West are the High Plains, a portion of the Great Plains. These plains mainly consist of flat rolling land, with scattered buttes, canyons, and forests located in these areas. The High Plains receive very little rainfall and sit at high elevations, usually about 3,000 to 6,000 feet (910 to 1,830 m). Many people view the High Plains as the point where one begins to enter the greater Mountain West region.[4]

The Mountain West has some of the highest mountain peaks in America. Some of the more famous mountains in the Mountain West are Mount Elbert, Pikes Peak, Blanca Peak, Longs Peak, Kings Peak, Wind River Peak, Cloud Peak, Wheeler Peak, Truchas Peak, Granite Peak, Borah Peak, and Humphreys Peak.[5]

Climate[edit]

Snow on the Great Basin Desert of Nevada
The Painted Desert in northeastern Arizona

The climate of the Mountain West is one of the more diverse climates in the United States. The entire region generally features a semi-arid to arid climate, with some alpine climates in the mountains of each state. Some parts of the tall mountains can receive very large amounts of snow and rain, while other parts of the region receive very little rain and virtually no snow at all. The High Plains in the eastern portion of the region receive moderate snowfalls, but virtually very little rain at all.

The states of Nevada and Arizona are generally filled with desert lands and scattered mountain ranges. Much of Nevada receives little to no snow in the southern portion of the state, while northern Nevada can receive large amounts of snow in and around the mountains, and even in the desert lands in Nevada. Arizona generally receives little rain or snow, but high elevations in and near mountains receive extremely large amounts of rain and snow. Northern and northeastern Arizona display characteristics of a "High Desert", where the summers are very hot and dry, while the winters can become very cold and it can snow as well.

Utah is also generally large desert lands with mountains as well. However, the desert lands in Utah receive significant snowfalls, and there are large snowfalls in and around the mountains. Colorado and New Mexico have very similar climates. Both states can receive significant snowfalls off the mountains, while the mountains in both states receive extremely large amounts of snow. However, southern and southwestern New Mexico generally does not receive much snow at all, similar to southern Nevada and southern Arizona. The desert lands found in northeastern Arizona, eastern Utah, northern New Mexico, and western and southern Colorado are generally referred to as the "High Desert" lands.

The northern portion of the Mountain West tends to be a bit cooler than the southwestern areas. Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana all receive significant snowfalls off the mountains and very large snowfalls in the mountains. The High Desert also exists in the northern Mountain West. Southeastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and southwestern Wyoming have the Great Basin Desert lands located in them, which is part of the high desert.[6]

States[edit]

Mount Elbert in the Sawatch Range of Colorado is the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains and the Mountain States.
The Mountain States by population[7]

Rank State 2010 pop 2000 pop Change Capital Most populous city
1 Arizona 6,392,017 5,130,632 +24.59% Phoenix Phoenix
2 Colorado 5,029,196 4,301,261 +16.92% Denver Denver
3 Utah 2,763,885 2,233,169 +23.77% Salt Lake City Salt Lake City
4 Nevada 2,700,551 1,998,257 +35.15% Carson City Las Vegas
5 New Mexico 2,059,179 1,819,046 +13.20% Santa Fe Albuquerque
6 Idaho 1,567,582 1,293,953 +21.15% Boise Boise
7 Montana 989,415 902,195 +9.67% Helena Billings
8 Wyoming 563,626 493,782 +14.14% Cheyenne Cheyenne
Mountain States 22,065,451 18,172,295 +21.42% Phoenix
The Mountain States by mean elevation[8]

Rank State Highest point Highest elevation Lowest point Lowest elevation Mean elevation Elevation span
1 Colorado Mount Elbert[9] 14,440 ft
4401 m
Arikaree River at Kansas border 3,317 ft
1011 m
6,800 ft
2073 m
11,123 ft
3390 m
2 Wyoming Gannett Peak[10] 13,809 ft
4209 m
Belle Fourche River at South Dakota border 3,099 ft
945 m
6,700 ft
2042 m
10,710 ft
3265 m
3 Utah Kings Peak[11] 13,518 ft
4120 m
Beaver Dam Wash at Arizona border 2,180 ft
664 m
6,100 ft
1859 m
11,338 ft
3456 m
4 New Mexico Wheeler Peak[12] 13,167 ft
4013 m
Red Bluff Reservoir on Texas border 2,842 ft
866 m
5,700 ft
1737 m
10,325 ft
3147 m
5 Nevada Boundary Peak[13] 13,147 ft
4007 m
Colorado River at California border 479 ft
146 m
5,500 ft
1676 m
12,668 ft
3861 m
6 Idaho Borah Peak[14] 12,668 ft
3861 m
Snake River at Washington border 710 ft
216 m
5,000 ft
1524 m
11,958 ft
3645 m
7 Arizona Humphreys Peak[15] 12,637 ft
3852 m
Colorado River at Sonora border 70 ft
21 m
4,100 ft
1250 m
12,567 ft
3830 m
8 Montana Granite Peak[16] 12,807 ft
3904 m
Kootenai River at Idaho border 1,800 ft
549 m
3,400 ft
1036 m
11,007 ft
3355 m
Mountain States Mount Elbert[9] 14,440 ft
4401 m
Colorado River at Sonora border 70 ft
21 m
5,400 ft
1646 m
14,370 ft
4380 m

Cities[edit]

Downtown Phoenix
Downtown Denver
The 30 most populous municipalities of the Mountain States[7]

Rank Municipality State 2010 pop 2000 pop Change
1 Phoenix Arizona 1,445,632 1,321,045 +9.43%
2 Denver Colorado 600,158 554,636 +8.21%
3 Las Vegas Nevada 583,756 478,434 +22.01%
4 Albuquerque New Mexico 545,852 448,607 +21.68%
5 Tucson Arizona 520,116 486,699 +6.87%
6 Mesa Arizona 439,041 396,375 +10.76%
7 Colorado Springs Colorado 416,427 360,890 +15.39%
8 Aurora Colorado 325,078 276,393 +17.61%
9 Henderson Nevada 257,729 175,381 +46.95%
10 Chandler Arizona 236,123 176,581 +33.72%
11 Glendale Arizona 226,721 218,812 +3.61%
12 Reno Nevada 225,221 180,480 +24.79%
13 Scottsdale Arizona 217,385 202,705 +7.24%
14 North Las Vegas Nevada 216,961 115,488 +87.86%
15 Gilbert Arizona 208,453 109,697 +90.03%
16 Boise Idaho 205,671 185,787 +10.70%
17 Salt Lake City Utah 186,440 181,743 +2.58%
18 Tempe Arizona 161,719 158,625 +1.95%
19 Peoria Arizona 154,065 108,364 +42.17%
20 Fort Collins Colorado 143,986 118,652 +21.35%
21 Lakewood Colorado 142,980 144,126 −0.80%
22 West Valley City Utah 129,480 108,896 +18.90%
23 Thornton Colorado 118,772 82,384 +44.17%
24 Surprise Arizona 117,517 30,848 +280.96%
25 Provo Utah 112,488 105,166 +6.96%
26 Pueblo Colorado 106,595 102,121 +4.38%
27 Arvada Colorado 106,433 102,153 +4.19%
28 Westminster Colorado 106,114 100,940 +5.13%
29 Billings Montana 104,170 89,847 +15.94%
30 West Jordan Utah 103,712 68,336 +51.77%

Urban areas[edit]

The Las Vegas Strip
The skyline of Salt Lake City
Evening comes to Tucson
Albuquerque skyline with the Sandia Mountains in the distance
The skyline of Colorado Springs with the Front Range in the background
The 31 most populous Core Based Statistical Areas of the Mountain States[7][17]

Rank CBSA 2010 pop 2000 pop Change
1 Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ MSA 4,192,887 3,251,876 +28.94%
2 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO MSA 2,543,482 2,179,240 +16.71%
3 Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA 1,951,269 1,375,765 +41.83%
4 Salt Lake City, UT MSA 1,124,197 968,858 +16.03%
5 Tucson, AZ MSA 980,263 843,746 +16.18%
6 Albuquerque, NM MSA 887,077 729,649 +21.58%
7 Colorado Springs, CO MSA 645,613 537,484 +20.12%
8 Boise City-Nampa, ID MSA 616,561 464,840 +32.64%
9 Ogden-Clearfield, UT MSA 547,184 442,656 +23.61%
10 Provo-Orem, UT MSA 526,810 376,774 +39.82%
11 Reno-Sparks, NV MSA 425,417 342,885 +24.07%
12 Fort Collins-Loveland, CO MSA 299,630 251,494 +19.14%
13 Boulder, CO MSA 294,567 269,814 +9.17%
14 Greeley, CO MSA 252,825 180,926 +39.74%
15 Prescott, AZ MSA 211,033 167,517 +25.98%
16 Las Cruces, NM MSA 209,233 174,682 +19.78%
17 Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ MSA 200,186 155,032 +29.13%
18 Yuma, AZ MSA 195,751 160,026 +22.32%
19 Pueblo, CO MSA 159,063 141,472 +12.43%
20 Billings, MT MSA 158,050 138,904 +13.78%
21 Grand Junction, CO MSA 146,723 116,255 +26.21%
22 Santa Fe, NM MSA 144,170 129,292 +11.51%
23 Coeur d'Alene, ID MSA 138,494 108,685 +27.43%
24 Saint George, UT MSA 138,115 90,354 +52.86%
25 Flagstaff, AZ MSA 134,421 116,320 +15.56%
26 Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ μSA 131,346 117,755 +11.54%
27 Idaho Falls, ID MSA 130,374 101,677 +28.22%
28 Farmington, NM MSA 130,044 113,801 +14.27%
29 Logan, UT-ID MSA 125,442 102,720 +22.12%
30 Missoula, MT MSA 109,299 95,802 +14.09%
31 Show Low, AZ μSA 107,449 97,470 +10.24%
The six Combined Statistical Areas of the Mountain States[7][17][18]

CSA 2010 pop 2000 pop Change Component CBSAs
Denver-Aurora-Boulder, CO CSA 3,090,874 2,629,980 +17.52% Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO MSA
Boulder, CO MSA
Greeley, CO MSA
Las Vegas-Paradise-Pahrump, NV CSA 1,995,215 1,408,250 +41.68% Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA
Pahrump, NV µSA
Salt Lake City-Ogden-Clearfield, UT CSA 1,744,886 1,469,474 +18.74% Salt Lake City, UT MSA
Ogden-Clearfield, UT MSA
Brigham City, UT µSA
Heber, UT µSA
Reno-Sparks-Fernley, NV CSA 477,397 377,386 +26.50% Reno-Sparks, NV MSA
Fernley, NV µSA
Santa Fe-Espanola, NM CSA 184,416 170,482 +8.17% Santa Fe, NM MSA
Espanola, NM µSA
Clovis-Portales, NM CSA 68,222 63,062 +8.18% Clovis, NM µSA
Portales, NM µSA

Gallery[edit]

Politics[edit]

Parties
Democratic Republican Populist
  • Bold denotes election winner.
Presidential electoral votes in the Mountain States since 1864
Year Arizona Colorado Idaho Montana Nevada New Mexico Utah Wyoming
1864 No election No election No election No election Lincoln No election No election No election
1868 No election No election No election No election Grant No election No election No election
1872 No election No election No election No election Grant No election No election No election
1876 No election Hayes No election No election Hayes No election No election No election
1880 No election Garfield No election No election Hancock No election No election No election
1884 No election Blaine No election No election Blaine No election No election No election
1888 No election Harrison No election No election Harrison No election No election No election
1892 No election Weaver Weaver Harrison Weaver No election No election Harrison
1896 No election Bryan Bryan Bryan Bryan No election Bryan Bryan
1900 No election Bryan Bryan Bryan Bryan No election McKinley McKinley
1904 No election Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt No election Roosevelt Roosevelt
1908 No election Bryan Taft Taft Bryan No election Taft Taft
1912 Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Taft Wilson
1916 Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson Wilson
1920 Harding Harding Harding Harding Harding Harding Harding Harding
1924 Coolidge Coolidge Coolidge Coolidge Coolidge Coolidge Coolidge Coolidge
1928 Hoover Hoover Hoover Hoover Hoover Hoover Hoover Hoover
1932 Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt
1936 Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt
1940 Roosevelt Willkie Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt
1944 Roosevelt Dewey Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Roosevelt Dewey
1948 Truman Truman Truman Truman Truman Truman Truman Truman
1952 Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower
1956 Εisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower Eisenhower
1960 Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon Kennedy Kennedy Nixon Nixon
1964 Goldwater Johnson Johnson Johnson Johnson Johnson Johnson Johnson
1968 Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon
1972 Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon Nixon
1976 Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford
1980 Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan
1984 Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan
1988 Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush
1992 Bush Clinton Bush Clinton Clinton Clinton Bush Bush
1996 Clinton Dole Dole Dole Clinton Clinton Dole Dole
2000 Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush Gore Bush Bush
2004 Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush
2008 McCain Obama McCain McCain Obama Obama McCain McCain
2012 Romney Obama Romney Romney Obama Obama Romney Romney

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Infoplease: Daylight Saving Time, A trip around the world reveals that time isn't a synchronized science
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ The Shifting Terrain of the Mountain West. Research.allacademic.com (2013-05-07). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  4. ^ Welcome - High Plains Regional Climate Center. Hprcc.unl.edu (2013-06-13). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  5. ^ Private Tutor. Infoplease.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  6. ^ North American Deserts. DesertUSA. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  7. ^ a b c d "The American FactFinder". 2010 United States Census. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ See the List of U.S. states by elevation.
  9. ^ a b "Mount Elbert". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Gannett Peak Cairn". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Kings Peak Target". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Wheeler". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Boundary". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Beauty Reset". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Frisco". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Granite Peak". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "OMB Bulletin No. 10-02: Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses" (PDF). United States Office of Management and Budget. December 1, 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  18. ^ The Sacramento—Arden-Arcade—Yuba City, CA-NV Combined Statistical Area includes the Gardnerville Ranchos, NV Micropolitan Statistical Area, but is located primarily in California.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°24′00″N 110°36′00″W / 44.4000°N 110.6000°W / 44.4000; -110.6000